Movie Films x Product Placement

I rented the film Disturbia, and actually thought it was a good movie. At least much better than what the trailers had promoted. Ironically, it was a takeback to my old high school days when I was once on house arrest something similar happened to me. Nostalgia aside, one thing I particularly did not like about this movie was the blatant product placement/subliminal marketing that was liberally peppered into every single scene. While annoying, it was actually interesting how they managed to do that throughout the entire film.

Use of retail brands is nothing new to this industry, and the practice has existed for quite some time. The obvious purpose is a means for companies to expose themselves to various audiences, and in some cases (for production studios) it’s to gain endorsement to aid in producing a film. The thought of how much influence these brand names have on the movie industry seemed interesting to me, so I went out and found a couple resources that talk about the subject:

Brand Channel
http://www.brandchannel.com/brandcameo_films.asp

Brand Hype
http://www.brandhype.org/MovieMapper/index.jsp

The first website is more frequently updated than the latter, and offers details about which companies appear in films. Brand Hype is interesting because they made something of a documentary about brand marketing in movies. Additionally, each film not only has a list of companies, but when in the film you see each named product. A bit compulsive… perhaps, but interesting nonetheless.

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~ by zooloo on August 20, 2007.

3 Responses to “Movie Films x Product Placement”

  1. Good sites. Brand Channel has a good eye – I just Bourne Ultimatum last night and can’t remember seeing half of the brands they mention.

    I mind it less when they show a brand (even prominently) than when a character goes out of their way to mention a brand name. For instance, in Bourne:

    They frequently show cellphones, mainly Nokias. There’s a shot of a scooter that close-ups on the Vespa logo. These things don’t bother me so much, even though I notice them.

    During a scene where Bourne is talking to a contact by cellphone trying to direct him out of a sticky situation, he says “Chrysler [whatever model]” in reference to a minivan. In a desperate situation like that, I think even the sharpest guy would just say “silver van”.

    I guess what it comes down to for me is, show what you want, but don’t make the dialogue sound unnatural or stupid just to cram your product placement in.

  2. The first film I’ve seen to have a lot of blatant product placement was Garfield. Everytime the camera showed a car, the logo of the car was always in plain view near the centre of the screen. There were plenty of other products shown in that film. I don’t remember the products themselves so I guess the placement didn’t work that well with me. Now off to buy Coco-cola with my Visa in my brand new Ford Fusion, but first I must retie my Nike running shoes and adjust my Guess jeans.

  3. @mattbear: good example of how it can be used without tainting the movie experience; you know those things are there, just less obvious if one were so inclined to look for them.

    @whatigotsofar: that’s almost exactly the same experience disturbia gives around product placement, and you unintentially spot it through the entire movie.

    it was a fun movie to watch, but the first thing on my mind after the fact was, “that was one long advertising campaign for bored high schoolers on house arrest.”

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